Easy yet effective tips for coping with stress better?
February 3, 2015 10:17 AM   Subscribe

I've been hit with a significant number of life stressors recently, and could use some help. I've been working on keeping my stress levels low through healthy eating, exercising, and sleeping well, but my stress is getting to the point where I feel like laying in bed all day. I can't afford to let myself spiral any lower; I'd like some simple-yet-effective stress busters to prop me up, so that I have enough energy to deal with my problems and continue living healthy.

I'm on Lamictal and Buspar for depression and anxiety (I used to take Lexapro which I think might have helped a bit better for the anxiety than this combination, but dropped it due to libido issues). I was taking Vyvanse for my ADD, but stopped a few days ago in case it was exacerbating my stress; I'm now sticking to a morning cup or two of green tea for the time being. I have a therapist.

I've always been bad with stress, and this is probably the most stressed I've been in my life. Most of the stuff that's messing me up hit around the same time, and includes a serious illness in the family plus a few other biggies. I've been having issues stemming from this for about a month, and they've progressively been getting worse. I'm not depressed per se at the moment - Lamictal has worked wonders on that front - but I do have depression-like symptoms, such as not getting as much out normally pleasurable activities. This isn't because I'm too sad to enjoy them, but rather that I'm physically and mentally stressed to the point of exhaustion. Concentrating on things is a chore.

I had a panic attack last month, plus a few other close calls. I have moderate insomnia, muscle tightness/pain, and an inability to complete tasks that I normally do daily without a second thought (doing the dishes, preparing healthy food, exercising, etc.). Even when I do get some sleep, I often have nightmares related to my current life stressors. I'm having a harder time staying on my regular self-imposed schedule as well.

I try to meditate sometimes, but lately have had a hard time getting into "the zone." I've been trying my best to exercise so that I can get some sleep, but sometimes even that doesn't help with the insomnia. Other days I just can't bring myself to get to the gym, and instead choose to lay in bed. I made an appointment with my psych two weeks from now, and will be seeing my therapist tomorrow.

I'd love to hear anything that might be helpful, including advice on how to better cope with stress and lifestyle habits that are proven to lower anxiety. I'd prefer advice/habits that I'm able to carry out within the span of a few minutes - I figure that if it takes any more time, it would probably be time better spent towards trying to prepare healthy food or exercise that day. I guess what I'm looking for are minor stress busters so that I have enough energy to partake in the major stress busters. (Of course, major stress busters that I'm ignorant of are quite welcome as well!)

I'm also looking for suggestions on supplements I could take that - again - are proven to help with stress levels. For example, I just read a study that found the combination of Buspar + Melatonin to be effective in helping with depression/stress; I just started trying them out together. I'm also taking magnesium citrate and fish oil. I don't want to bother with alternative medicine that doesn't have any scientific evidence backing up its claims.

Tips on actively bringing myself out of mental shut-down mode would be appreciated as well; I have a lot on my plate, and I know that it will only continue to pile up if I stay in bed trying to forget about my problems. I guess that's about it. Thanks MeFites!
posted by CottonCandyCapers to Health & Fitness (26 answers total) 33 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I really wish I could come through the screen and give you a hug right now, because I am going through what feels like a very similar scenario to yours. Different factors I'm sure, but the stress and the anxiety and just wanting to lay in bed all day. It's not easy being in that mentality, and even harder to break out of it. I think the therapy is a key thing here. Be really honest and forthcoming with your therapist and make sure you keep on top of your perscriptions with your psych.

I was in therapy before and I was only taking it half serious. It turned out that it was more helpful than harmful because I wasn't truly honest with myself during that time. Here I am years later and still fighting the depression, and anxiety. I unfortunately do not have a miracle cure, or method that will help you cope. However it may be helpful just knowing that you are not alone, and that sometimes you just need to step back and take a few minutes to just breathe. It's not something that is going to immediately break you out of your slump, but you'd be surprised at how much clearer your mind will be after a few minutes of quiet deep breathing.

Hopefully someone will come along with more medical tips for you regarding supplements. Good luck to you.
posted by LostInTime at 10:32 AM on February 3, 2015

I just posted about this in a thread on the blue before having read this, but--okay, before I get to that part, I will say that I mention this now and then, but if you haven't tried it yet, talk to your doctor about taking a beta blocker with a stimulant if you don't deal well with stimulants normally. I take my ADD meds with a beta blocker and it improves the side effects significantly. I get the feeling from part of this that you'd be managing better if you could still be taking your meds.

So, okay, that said, the thing that helps me cope with stress best is generally keeping up with exercising on a regular basis. For me, a walk isn't good enough; I need to be working hard, to the brink of exhaustion. I'm not anybody who's going to be running any marathons here, but whatever I'm doing, I try to do intervals of going all-out. So, two minutes slow, one minute as fast as I can possibly go, for ~30min. By the last interval I feel like I'm going to die, afterwards I'm exhausted--and my brain functions considerably better, everything seems easier, life is less overwhelming. I have a feeling it has to do with endorphins. Whatever, it works. It also improves the ADD stuff, but not to the point where I'd want to go without medication, it more just seems to make my meds work more efficiently. But just exercising didn't work, it has to be "going until I can't go anymore" levels. I'm still trying to figure out how to achieve that at home because some days getting to the gym is hard, but I'm sure there are ways.
posted by Sequence at 10:37 AM on February 3, 2015 [3 favorites]

You're already doing most of what I am doing / would suggest. But a couple of thoughts:

- On the meditation front, how are you meditating? I wonder if switching it up might help you. Personally, when I'm really stressed/anxious, I can't keep myself on task with the more freeform meditation I might do otherwise, I need a guided meditation to keep bringing me back to what I'm trying to do. (Currently I'm finding Headspace great for this but have used other guided meditations in the past.) For a friend, no sort of sitting/lying meditation works at all, she needs to be doing moving meditations, like walking.

- Can you schedule a massage, or something else self-pampering that you find relaxing? If you don't have time for a indulgent 2-hour whatever, maybe a 30-minute massage. Hell, maybe a friend to give you a backrub.

- Are there any areas you might be able to temporarily simplify your life? Can you scrap the dishwashing, let yourself live off paper plates for this particular stressful period in your life, and give yourself a pass on environmental guilt in the name of stress reduction? Cut back on something like volunteer commitments that might be stressing more than helping? Try out a form of exercise you can do at home - yoga videos or light weightlifting or jumping jacks, something you can do that doesn't require getting yourself out the door to a gym?
posted by Stacey at 10:52 AM on February 3, 2015

Best answer: It sounds like you have some legit reasons to take time to process what is going in your life. This is a real part of being alive, and trying to manage that through pharmacology is unhealthy.

It sounds very much from your narrative that you expect to operate entirely normally through difficult experiences, and that your reactions can and should be repressed and controlled. I've never seen that work out. Maybe you can be the "miracle," but I don't think so.

You're going to have to feel your feelings. These feelings will probably be strong and require temporary accomodation like time off from your regular schedule and expectations for yourself.

I suggest setting boundaries for yourself with your therapist's guidance so you don't "go too far" in your processing of your emotions. I don't think you can reasonably expect that difficult times won't alter your life significantly, at least temporarily.

Utilizing your therapist and writing down lists and goals might help you process quicker and get back on track once this difficult time in your life subsides.
posted by jbenben at 10:56 AM on February 3, 2015 [4 favorites]

Have you put your problems in a journal? Writing (longhand if that's at all attractive), goes well with therapy. A journal can be a place to notice the things that cause you anxiety, and can help put a little distance on them. And, if you have a few minutes more, write up a thing or two you're grateful for.

Gratitude journal; goes with rant journaling—and the lists and goals jbenben suggests above.
posted by xaryts at 11:10 AM on February 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: This might sound silly, but I knit a lot and it is a great way to relieve the stress you're talking about. Getting one row of a pattern done takes only a few minutes (depending on the pattern, of course) and it is incredibly soothing.

I would start with Barbara Walker's Learn to Knit Afghan and start with square one and then move forward from there. It will probably take you many years to complete (I started mine over a year ago and am still working on it!) but it is incredibly stress-relieving, fairly inexpensive (you can get all the yarn you need at any big box craft store, as well as needles), and gives me a sense of accomplishment.

Other things that I do when I am feeling exactly how you feel:
- Go on a walk in the neighborhood and make a point to notice at least three lovely things
- Get out of my house in some way by going to a coffee shop, the local library, the mall - not even to do anything, just to not be at home because home is where my bed is and bed is where my depressive self likes to hang out the most
- Let things go - I eat out more (salads at McDonalds are surprisingly good), let the dust bunnies pile up, etc. and don't beat myself up about it. No one knows but my cat (and sort of my boyfriend) that I am a secret slob!!! It's OK!
- Journal. Having a dedicated time to barf it all out is really good for me.
- Have a project that is not too challenging but that has a physical product as the endpoint (like the knitting above)
- Yoga. I take a yoga class with the nicest, kindest, sweetest teacher on earth and it is full of nice people and I give myself permission to not talk to anyone there and to just be, just be, and to stretch and to not pay attention to anyone but myself and my body, for an hour a week. Sometimes I skip it when I want to cry instead, but I find that it is really good for me when I am able to make myself go.
- Making sure that I do NOT BEAT MYSELF UP when I lie in bed, or don't shower for a few days, or cancel seeing my friends because I just want to be a puddle of tears in bed. Whatever. So be fucking it. It's OK, it's ok, It Is O.K.
- Hot showers, hot baths, hot hot hot water. It's cleansing. Oh, swimming in a swimming pool is great because it's like, warm water cozy and it's also exercise.

Oh, finally, this? I'd prefer advice/habits that I'm able to carry out within the span of a few minutes - I figure that if it takes any more time, it would probably be time better spent towards trying to prepare healthy food or exercise that day. This is you beating yourself up. Here's the thing that I've found with myself. This is just me and it might not apply, but for me, for me - I end up not doing anything and sitting in a pile of filth and sad instead of doing that relaxing hobby that I enjoy. And then I end up in the same place that I was but without having done something that could have made me feel good. Hobbies might take time, but are you really going to plan healthy meals for the week instead? And then are you really, truly going to enact those plans? I think if the answer was yes that you would not be asking this question - and that is OK. It's OK.

Knitting sometimes feel stupid to me, because I look up and think, "Gosh, I could have been cleaning, or making healthy food for the week, or, or, or, and instead I was sitting around enjoying myself and being in the moment and feeling momentary calm" and what is so wrong with that? What is wrong with that? It beats the alternative - feeling bad about myself and my stressors and being mean to myself.

Take care.
posted by sockermom at 11:11 AM on February 3, 2015 [13 favorites]

Oh! Yeah, so I recently took up knitting during a really stressful time ans it's been amazing. Really calming, and the act of learning something new has helped keep some of the spiraling in my head at bay. I can't catastrophize while I'm learning to purl.
posted by Stacey at 11:22 AM on February 3, 2015 [2 favorites]

If meditation usually helps you but you're too fidgety to sit through it, you might try coloring. If you have a free $40, you can buy yourself a really nice pack of colored pencils and a coloring book (try tessellations or mandalas or other repetitive patterns for maximum relaxation). I thought it was a little ridiculous (I like to craft but coloring seemed so uncreative), but I find it really relaxing and a good way to turn off my inner (super anxious) monologue for a while.
posted by snaw at 11:24 AM on February 3, 2015 [8 favorites]

I went through several years feeling exactly like this. I am really sorry to hear that you are going through this. You should know that you are not the only one! I suffered from heart palpitations, anxiety attacks, bouts of crying on the floor for no reason, and damaged relationships with family and friends.

At the tail end of that several year period, it was determined that I had low thyroid -- anxiety and fatigue are key symptoms of this, among other things. I still had bone-crushing brain-frying anxiety, but with thyroid my body was better equipped to deal with it -- instead of "freaking out" at every small thing, I was able to sort of ride "above the waves." It might be worth getting checked because it can be corrected with a simple, inexpensive, non-side-effect-laden medication.

The only "distraction" that helped me was doing the "INSANITY" workout for a few months. At the time I was quite overweight and in terrible shape, so I think almost anyone can do this workout, with modifications. It was so intense that it completely "erased" my mind, and made me so tired at night that I slept like a log! The daily workout schedule helped me structure my time. Everything became about, "How will I arrange my working, eating, and sleeping so that I can do Insanity tonight?"

My last suggestion (which is the hardest) is to consider what is causing these life stressors and whether any of them might be eliminated or resolved. For me, making significant life changes (extremely frightening changes, making compromises that I said I would "NEVER" make) was the only thing that brought the anxiety to an end.

Hang in there, it will get better.
posted by amy27 at 12:19 PM on February 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks so far, everyone.

LostInTime - Psychic hug! We'll get through this. :)
posted by CottonCandyCapers at 12:26 PM on February 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

For what it's worth, I've had depression and have been struggling on and off so far this short year and one of the things that has helped has been running in the morning every other day. I know you said you're trying to get to the gym but doing it first thing in the morning gives me an early win for the day plus then in the evening, it's one less thing I have to do.
posted by kat518 at 12:34 PM on February 3, 2015

Best answer: Hi, are you living my life? Sorry you're going through such a rough time. You have my sympathy.

One thing I've seen pop up a lot lately that you can do quickly is called the 4-7-8 breathing technique. You can google for details, but basically you inhale through your nose for 4 seconds, hold your breath for 7 seconds, then exhale through your mouth for 8. Repeat. It's been touted as useful for stress reduction, anxiety and falling asleep faster. YMMV, but it can't hurt, right?

For muscle pain & tightness, a heating pad and a foam roller can help a lot. Also, yoga. If you think you hate yoga because it's too weird and hippie, at least give these free videos from Erin Motz at DoYouYoga a try. They're all short (20 mins or less) and of varying intensity. The restorative yoga (Day 22) and yoga for better sleep (Day 29) might be good places to start. I don't know about you but I get super tense when I'm stressed and yoga is a good release for that. Best of all it can be done at home, in your PJs if you want.

The other thing I like to do is try to get a few minutes of sunshine. This time of year is particularly dark and sunshine always helps improve my mood.

Last but not least, try to give yourself some grace. Life is shitty right now. It's OK to not do the dishes and not always eat healthy and skip your workouts sometimes. Take shortcuts where you can - use disposal dishware, buy premade salads, skip your workouts. This will pass, but in the mean time, try to cut yourself some slack. Just do the best you can every day, even if your best is staying in bed all day.
posted by geeky at 1:32 PM on February 3, 2015 [4 favorites]

I have been dealing with a lot of prolonged and intense stress, to the point where I'm almost hesitant to answer because I fear a bit of a blind-leading-the-blind issue here. But...

I completely hear you on "I'd prefer advice/habits that I'm able to carry out within the span of a few minutes" -- I am reading the suggestions and thinking but if I had time for X, I wouldn't be stressed! -- but my way of dealing with needing to address stress while also being pressed for time is to just book it off in large chunks and decide to be unavailable for anything except Fun Thing at that time.

I can get myself through a week of scut work more easily knowing that I have a plan to do Fun Thing and will then not be doing anything to deal with my problems or get ahead or whatever, except for the fact that committing to Fun Thing is good self-care and I am doing a huge thing to avoid collapse/mental health problems by engaging in Fun Thing and I will be better able to tackle problems for having spent time on Fun Thing.

Fun Thing for me is usually going out to visit and have good food and drink with friends, or having friends come over for the same. Occasionally it is tickets for a show, or just a plan to go to a place I like and be in that place. It is never expensive and it is never a thing that would register as a big deal to anybody else; the only important components are that it registers as enjoyable to me and my only focus during Fun Thing is Fun Thing. Recently I have been shutting off internet/phone access for this and that's been a value add as far as Fun Thing goes as a mental health help.

Do cut yourself plenty of slack. Healthy food and exercise are nice but but junk food and beer and internet time sucks all have their place, too.
posted by kmennie at 1:42 PM on February 3, 2015

Surprised that nobody has pointed out so far that you don't have to go to the gym in order to do exercise. You can do bodyweight exercises (like squats, lunges, planks) nearly anywhere. Seconding the idea that exercise seems to be more helpful for mood when done to exhaustion. So, don't give yourself (much of a) break between sets of bodyweight exercises. All the more important since you don't want to spend a lot of time on it. Really go all out for the few minutes that you do devote to it. You could also do running sprints, if physically able.

One thing I haven't seen mentioned yet that might help is immune-enhancing mushrooms. Fungi Perfecti makes one called CordyChi (anti-stress and fatigue) that I'm currently taking.
posted by mysterious_stranger at 1:44 PM on February 3, 2015

I have a post-it note on my computer to practice the 4-7-8 Breath. Too soon to tell if it's really helping much but it feels good. Very simple and quick to do a couple of times a day.
posted by biscuits at 1:50 PM on February 3, 2015

Best answer: I have never gotten to the point of being able to "meditate" per se, but I like doing mindfulness and breathing exercises. The Mindfulness App is great. I do their 5 Minute Body Scan sometimes in the morning or before bed. This was recommended by a CBT therapist. I also like the Calm app and their website.

I've also been using white/colored noise to chill out. SimplyNoise is great. Also with Calm you can turn on one of their background noises. I often put that on with the built-in timer in bed and fall asleep to it.
posted by radioamy at 2:10 PM on February 3, 2015 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Exercise
Writing or venting to yourself
Group activities (even with strangers through meet up)
Make sure to have some social interaction a day
If you have study or work, try to do it in a public p>lace like the library or coffee shop
Mindful walks where you just notice everything around you. No phone. No ruminating.
Vent walks where you just vent to yourself are good too ( if you live in the country like I do)
Enough sleep
Solitude if you need it
Keep busy
Theanine, fish oil, b vitamins(especially b12) vitamin c
A positive mantra
Keep in touch with friends
Lay off the caffeine if it makes it worse
posted by eq21 at 2:14 PM on February 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I'm going through a period of very high stress, including some life stressors plus Way Too Many Things. Here is what has been helpful for me:

Kelly McGonigal's TED talk: How to make stress your friend.

I'm on HabitRPG for personal goals. I add tags to my tasks, and some of those tags function as help buttons. When I am feeling stressed or anxious enough to be having trouble, I click on my stress tag (I use an emoji symbol) and start running through the list of tasks and reminders that help me through it.

One of my first and most helpful tags was my 'frozen' button. If I am completely frozen, I click on it and it brings up a very short list. The first two items on the list always get me moving. Item 1 is 10 seconds of mindfulness; I usually look out the window at a nice scene. Item 2 is going to the bathroom. It's weird, but it works. Once I stand up to go to the bathroom, the ice is broken, and I do the thing I need to do instead, or end up cleaning a bit and then approaching the thing I was avoiding, which are items 3 (do a physical activity) and 4 (address some part of the thing that is causing my anxiety). The key is to know that the only thing I am required to do is actually go to the bathroom.

Specific things I find most effective, beyond sleep and remembering to eat:

- Ask yourself, "What would be the most healthy and most self-compassionate thing for me to do right now?" Sometimes that means taking a nap. Sometimes it means attacking a project.

- Lower your expectations. No, lower than that. Simplify. Say no. Be ruthless about putting things on hold or getting rid of them altogether. Do what you reasonably can, healthily, imperfectly. What you reasonably can do will vary.

- Related to the active meditation I mention below, but worth noting because it has a HUGE effect: go for a walk among trees, ideally in the sun.

- Allow. Allow pain, sadness, anxiety, and imperfection. Embrace it. It's okay. It's part of living. It's the bitter dark chocolate of life.

- Counter any negatively biased or unhelpful thoughts with reality-based, problem-solving thoughts.

- Give compassion to yourself and others. This means accepting and appreciating yourself and others as whole, flawed beings. In concrete terms, for yourself, it means actively caring for yourself (supportive tasks and thoughts) with love in your heart. For me, it feels a lot like being my own loving parent.

- I frequently remind myself that things are not supposed to go well, and I feel less upset when they don't, because that's just what happens sometimes. I read this analogy somewhere: life is not a script that I write. It is an improv.

Other helpful things:

- Short, frequent periods of mindfulness, gratitude, or returning to your breath throughout the day.

- Leaving behind problem-solving and allowing, accepting, and appreciating every once in a while.

- Physically active mindfulness meditation when I can, usually cleaning or walking. It's much more doable than sitting still and focusing on breath.

- Finding ways to enjoy and value all of the things I am doing.

- Music.

- Journal writing for really bad days or complex issues.
posted by moira at 2:18 PM on February 3, 2015 [6 favorites]

Best answer: I've been through this, off and on, at various times in my life. I can really relate to not wanting to get out of bed and family illnesses and other things.

What I have found helpful is to use note pads for everything, those little 3 x 5 ones that come in multipacks at Staples. Electronic to do lists just don't do it for me, I have to physically write it down, using my favorite black soft grip Papermate pen (which I also buy in multipacks).

On good days, it's just the major things, that I write down, reminders, etc. On bad days, it's more like, "shower, eat, scoop kitty litter."

But, I write it down, whatever it is, and I cross it off once I've done it. If I need to sit quietly for a while before I do the next task, I do. My ultimate goal on bad days is to Get. Three. Things. Done.

Then I can put the microwave herbal heating pack around my neck, put on my bathrobe, faff around, whatever.

I was totally nuts and stressed out last year, and maybe a while the year before and somewhat the years before that. But I've learned that the cops won't come to my door if I don't get my floors mopped. If I go a week and a half without vacuuming instead of 3 days, same thing.

And then, later, to build on it, routine is really important. Get up, coffee, scoop kitty litter, do dishes, sweep floor. Now that those things have been on my Three Things Everyday list, I do them. Later, I feel good, so I whiz about doing other things. I know it will get done, when I am ready. And no one is judging me for it.

A huge part of anxiety is the thought of "what if." What if I don't do this, what if this happens, what if, and it can spiral out like a virtual mandala of what if's. The only way to stop that paint splattering spirograph of "what if's" is to stop and just do 3 things. Everything else is gravy. I never understood all the "be kind to yourself" advice, until one day I was cold, and I put on my fuzzy bathrobe in the middle of the day, and I was warm and fuzzy and I was like, "oh, this feels good." So try it. Try being kind to yourself, as if someone kind were next to you, draping a warm fuzzy bathrobe over your shoulders and serving you warm soup. You're going through a rough time, it's okay to be down and upset about it. So be kind to yourself.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 5:46 PM on February 3, 2015 [2 favorites]

I read The Dance of Anger on a whim last month - it was on a list of books recommended for chronic illness and stuff - and by the first chapter, was sitting up feeling so much better because a huge chunk of the stress I was carrying about was suppressed anger. Just reading and naming it and accepting that being very angry wasn't a bad thing, but more a symptom of things that need to be changed or accepted, helped hugely. Buried anger is horrible, but anger that's acknowledged and directed to achieve something is amazing. I've had near-daily migraines for months and they've halved because I'm under so much less stress or at least, not smothered stress. I'm eating and exercising and doing a whole bunch better at taking care of my health and more productive for work and family too.
posted by viggorlijah at 7:20 PM on February 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

I second the coloring suggestion! I also thought it seemed silly at first but now just a few minutes of coloring in a coloring book with markers (I find them more satisfying than colored pencils) can really soothe and relax me. It's amazing.
posted by ootandaboot at 8:15 PM on February 3, 2015 [2 favorites]

I can't believe anyone is suggesting you knit. A far better idea would be ... to crochet! Yes, I will join the fiber arts coalition. In fact, my favorite combo is crochet plus an audiobook.

Another good stress reliever is gardening. Back when I was incredibly broke and extremely busy, growing little lettuce and kale plants from seed was the only hobby I kept up. The costs are minimal, and it's so satisfying.
posted by slidell at 11:42 PM on February 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

A couple quick things I didn't see mentioned on my stressed out, sleep deprived quick read through:

* Affirmations. Go look in a mirror and talk to yourself. Tell yourself that you're calm, cool and collected. Tell yourself that you radiate good health. Tell yourself that stress is your friend. Whatever it is that you need someone to tell you, be that someone to tell you. Go visit Skeletor Is Love for some great affirmations. (They aren't updating any more, but the archives are still there.)

* Take some extra time in the shower. Just to steam. Or sing. Relax some tense muscles under the beat of the hot water. Take some huge deep breaths in. Let yourself cry if you need to. Hot showers are my favorite place to cry, because the steam from the water helps prevent congestion. I recently had to give up my apartment and move in with my best friend and his family. Three teenagers and I share a bathroom. The walls in the place are paper thin, with absolutely no sound proofing. The shower is the only place where I have any privacy.

* Have an orgasm, by whatever means suits you best. When you have an orgasm, lots of oxytocin is released; it's the body's natural stress-fighting hormone.

All the best!
posted by The Almighty Mommy Goddess at 2:23 AM on February 4, 2015

Response by poster: Thank you all for the wonderful suggestions. I don't think knitting is for me, but I will look into a hobby in which I can create a physical product.

Actually, I enjoy composing music and haven't done that for a while. So maybe I will try that out. Thanks again!
posted by CottonCandyCapers at 8:58 AM on February 4, 2015 [1 favorite]

Take "smoke breaks". By that I don't mean go out and smoke, but get up and walk outside and meander around for 5 mins or so, tehn go back inside. I usually take a doo-dad with me to fidget with in my hands. My current doo-dad is a stress ball type thing which i mindless toss back and fourth between my hands. I also have some plain stainless steel rings I wear some day and fidget with those on my breaks as well. When ever i get that tickle of boredom, distraction, sadness, etc and I'm trying to focus on $task, I take a "smoke break" and it really resets my attention span to complete $task.
posted by WeekendJen at 11:52 AM on February 4, 2015 [2 favorites]

Great news. Post your music to MetafilterMusic when you make it! :)
posted by sockermom at 1:14 PM on February 4, 2015

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